Saturday, September 24, 2016

A List of Great Inventors

While my older group is doing Physics as their next main lesson block, my younger group will be doing Great Inventors. I picked Great Inventors instead of Saints and Virtuous People, a more common Waldorf block, because I know the purpose behind doing a block on virtuous people. It's to provide children with a set of role models that will touch their hearts deeply.

In this case, I'm creating a block for three learners who do NOT like to take risks. I'm creating a block for three students who assume that learning means knowing it in a flash... getting it right off the bat... no mistakes in their rough drafts... not needing to ask any follow up questions to a lesson... never having to raise your hand during a discussion. This is NOT learning! Learning is trying, failing, trying, failing, trying, failing, trying again. Learning is pushing back, taking charge, monitoring what you know and what you don't, figuring out where to find the answers to your question, finding out that you have new questions, asking, arguing, collaborating. Learning is boundless curiosity and hard work and determination. Learning is perseverance and being OK with making mistakes. Learning is taking the time to think about what you're discovering. Learning is wanting more.

In order to have several good conversations about what learning looks like, a block on famous inventors is a great place to start! It takes the pressure off, preventing students from thinking our conversations are hidden lectures directed towards them. And so I am drafting a list of inventors, trials and errors, happy accidents, and profound discoveries to include in this block:

School Library Journal put together their own list of Inventors, Innovators, and Inspirers | Great Picture Book Biographies.

I also was, through a lucky coincidence, just today reading the September 2011 issue of National Geographic when I came across an article called "If We Only Had Wings: The Daring Dream of Personal Flight," detailing the timeline of inventions pursuing this oh-so-common dream. If you have any other suggestions, please share via a comment. I would love to hear them!!!

A wonderful read-aloud story during this block would be The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate, the Newbery Honor book by Jacqueline Kelly which takes place in 1899.

Some other possibilities, if one wanted to expand the topic slightly:

Mary Anning and The Sea Dragon

Mary Anning by Jeannine Atkins
1799 - 1847

The Fossil Girl:
Mary Anning's Dinosaur Discovery

Mary Anning by Catherine Brighton
1799 - 1847

Stone Girl Bone Girl:
The Story of Mary Anning

Mary Anning by Laurence Anholt
1799 - 1847

What's the Matter with Albert?
A Story of Albert Einstein

Albert Einstein by Frieda Wishinsky
1879 - 1955

Odd Boy Out:
Young Albert Einstein

Albert Einstein by Dan Brown
1879 - 1955

On a Beam of Light:
A Story of Albert Einstein

Albert Einstein by Jennifer Berne
1879 - 1955

The Boy Who Loved Math:
The Improbable Life of Paul Erdos

Paul Erdos by Deborah Heiligman
1913 - 1996

Solving the Puzzle Under the Sea:
Marie Tharp Maps the Ocean Floor

Marie Tharp by Robert Burleigh
1920 - 2006

Star Stuff:
Carl Sagan and the Mysteries of the Cosmos

Carl Sagan by Stephanie Roth Sisson
1934 - 1996

The Soda Bottle School: A True Story of Recycling, Teamwork, and One Crazy Idea

Fernando Jose and Seño Laura Kutner
by Laura Kutner and Suzanne Slade

1 comment:

Eva said...

Thanks for sharing these, some I know, others I have never heard of. I will look for them in our library.